Overviews of General Sessions


Richard Rawlings took to the stage during the General Session on Wednesday morning and talked about how he got to where he is today, and what he’s learned. Many of the obstacles he overcame and challenges he’s faced are similar to what any person in business might experience.

"There is no such thing as an overnight success," said Richard, who is on track to make $150 million in revenue this year. "But there is not a person in this room who cannot achieve this.... It is taking the bull by the horns." Sometimes, it can be "emotional and scary" to be in business, though. "The hardest thing I ever had to do was go in the house and borrow a thousand dollars from my wife. That was the most humbling thing -- to borrow $1,000 from my wife, especially when I didn’t know how I was going to pay her back."

Richard added, "The funnest part about it is growing the business. The hardest part is doing it with the camera in front of your face."

Tips for hiring good people for your team:

"Try to attract the very best employee you can find. Also pay them the best. I pay all my employees the same. I demand loyalty to Gas Monkey Garage; We are all going to go into this together and we are all going to make the same amount of money."

Two important things to always keep in mind:

1.Pay everyone else first and yourself last.

2.Loyalty is important -- to employees and vendors.

Richard’s most influential strategic alliance:

"My wife, she believed in me. She was there. The voice of reason that kept me going was definitely my wife Suzanne."

Most challenging aspects of being in business:

"Customers, vendors and employees...The hardest thing in business is juggling all those balls."

Giving back:

"The thing I am most proud of is that I can give back," said Richard, who started a foundation for Alzheimer’s and dementia.

"If there is one thing I can leave you with: Have fun with what you are doing."




During the General Session on Thursday, attendees heard about what the SPFA committees have been up to and what's on the horizon. They also heard the SPF world report from Rob Outram, IAL Consultants.

Kurt Riesenberg, SPFA Executive Director, set the tone for the General Session with some great news: "The show is growing and at the show there has been a lot of energy and excitement for the growth of foam." He mentioned the registration numbers were at record levels and still climbing. Also, the Breakout Sessions have been a hit. "There have been some of the most fantastic sessions this year. We have more sessions than we’ve ever had." 

A theme of this year's expo has been "history," and along those lines he encouraged everyone to read the SPFA history articles in SPRAYFOAM Professional (Part 1 and Part 2).  "I think it is important to pay attention to history.. The danger is if you don’t know the narrative of your own history, you are going to repeat it." He went on to explain that "people who have battle scars on them from the past.. they form the fabric of the association today."

Rob Outram's "Global Overview of the SPF Industry" was further positive news for SPF. "The NAFTA sprayfoam market Is in really good shape," he said. "Construction is the key driver; demand is still largely driven by renovation of existing buildings and weatherization projects." He said the Canadian market grew in 2015 too, though U.S. has resumed its position as the fastest growing SPF producer. 

When IAL compiles these reports, "we do hundreds of interviews," explained Rob. And the amount of data is almost impossible to cover in a 20-minute presentation. The coverage is appreciated. "This is the best presentation every year. It is fantastic," said Chris Gallagher of Air Products and Chemicals.

To contact Rob for a copy of the material he covered, his email is routram@brggroup.com. This is a link to the information shared during the General Session at Sprayfoam 2016 or order the complete research report here.

Some other highlights from the General Session:

- SPFA Technical Director Rick Duncan shared the SPFA PCP Committee Report and the SPFA Committee Updates, both of which also will be posted to the SPFA website by the end of this week.

- Joe Bolduc earned the Workhorse of the Year Award.

- Bonnie Strickler said that over 2,000 PCP written exams have now been taken and there was an audit of PCP and "it passed with flying colors "